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November 30, 2007

Big Bang Or Big Goof?

The "Face Of God" Might Be Just Smudges On The Window

In the section of Kicking the Sacred Cow headed "Of Bangs and Braids: Cosmology's Mathematical Abstractions," I wrote in the part that talks about the Big Bang and Cosmic Backgroung Radiation (pp. 28-29 of the paperback edition):

"The story is generally repeated that the discovery of the 2.70K microwave background radiation confirmed precisely a prediction of the Big Bang theory. In fact, the figures predicted were an order of magnitude higher. We're told that those models were based on an idealized density somewhat higher than that actually reported by observation, and (mumble-mumble, shuffle-shuffle) it's not really too far off when you allow for the uncertainties. In any case, the Big Bang proponents maintained, the diffuseness of this radiation across space, emanating from no discernible source, meant that it could only be a relic of the original explosion.

"It's difficult to follow the insistence on why this had to be so. A basic principle of physics is that a structure that emits wave energy at a given frequency (or wavelength) will also absorb energy at the same frequency--a tuning fork, for example, is set ringing by the same tone that it sounds when struck. An object in thermal equilibrium with--i.e. that has reached the same temperature as--its surroundings will emit the same spectrum of radiation that it absorbs. Every temperature has a characteristic spectrum, and an ideal, perfectly black body absorbing and re-radiating totally is said to be a "blackbody" radiator at that temperature. The formula relating the total radiant energy emitted by a blackbody to its temperature was found experimentally by Stefan in 1879 and derived theoretically by Boltzmann in 1884. Thus, given the energy density of a volume, it was possible to calculate its temperature.

"Many studies had applied these principles to estimating the temperature of "space." These included Guillaume (1896), who obtained a figure of 50-60 K, based on the radiative output of stars; Eddington (1926), 3.180 K; Regener (1933), 2.80 K, allowing also for the cosmic ray flux; Nernst (1938), 0.750 K; Herzberg (1941), 2.30 K; Finlay- Freundlich (1953 & 1954), using a "tired light" model for the redshift (light losing energy due to some static process not involving expansion), 1.90 K to 60 K. Born, discussing this last result in 1954, and the proposal that the mechanism responsible for "tiring" the light en route might be photon-photon interactions, concluded that the "secondary photons" generated to carry away the small energy loss suffered at each interaction would be in the radar range. The significant thing about all these results is that they were based on a static, non- expanding universe, yet consistently give figures closer to the one that Penzias and Wilson eventually measured than any of the much-lauded predictions derived from Big Bang models."

At http://www.wired.com/science/space/news/2007/11/big_bang, the November 15, 2007, issue of Wired features an interesting piece about a paper by University of Memphis astronomer Gerrit Verschuur, published in the Astrophysical Journal, concluding that the images from the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite widely acclaimed as showing structures of the early universe in fact are due to nearby hydrogen gas clouds in our own galaxy. The article likens seeing the "seeds" as objects on the edge of the universe to looking out through a window and mistaking smudges on the glass for clouds in the sky. Proponents of the standard model dismiss Verschuur's results as statistical coincidences, of course. One of them is cited as comparing them to the delusions of Biblical evangelists who see the face of Jesus in a burrito. But ironically, it was a NASA scientist who in 1992 described the CBE images as "seeing the face of God." The same tactic is used to deride Halton Arp's findings that quasars are relatively nearby and not the most distance objects known at all, which would make the postulating of exotic mechanisms to account for their supposed enormous energy outputs unnecessary. Don't expect too much anytime soon, but it will be interesting to see what eventually comes of it all.

Wallace Thornhill cites Verschuur in his book The Electric Universe, p.15. In an e-mail, Wal predicts that Gerrit's correlations will be found to result from radiation produced by interactions of electric Birkeland current filament pairs flowing in space plasma.

Verschuur's full paper is available at http://plasmascience.net/tpu/downloadsCosmo/Verschuur-CIV-HI-TPS-Aug2007b.pdf

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